Friday, September 25, 2009

Audio design déjà vu

I am currently working on music and sounds for an audio-centric Independent Games Festival (IGF) submission - oddly a half-decade ago I was doing the exact same thing.


Before I let you in on my new project - humor a trip down memory lane.


Bubble Symphony Submission by Mind Control Software to the Independent Games Festival

It was 2005, and Mind Control Software (MCS) was taking on the ambitious (if not foolhardy) task of working on five IGF submissions simultaneously. One game called Bubble Wars was starting to tailspin towards a terrible crash into indie-game oblivion.


As described by Tim Turner (MCS's Manager of Operations at the time) in his Gamasutra article


"Bubble Wars was part of an internal initiative called BYOM which was an acronym for Bring Your Own Mouse. We developed a series of prototype games intended to create the console party-game feel on a PC. These prototypes were a skunk works project developed by a couple of staff members in their spare time. This game had no metaphor, no art (was done with programmatically colored circles and lines), no balance, and no real support internally. It was generally acknowledged as an innovative formal abstract system but nobody believed we could turn it into a shippable game until Harry Mack, our audio designer, smacked it with his amazing talent."


In the end the submission titled Bubble Symphony was an abstract RTS with a dynamic music system designed for two to four players playing on one computer with multiple mice. Every action in the game creates a musical note with each player's bubbles using a different instrument. The result is a surprisingly deep tactical-strategy game with a user created symphony.


Now take that idea, reverse it completely and you'll have the game I'm working on now...


Bubble Symphony Submission by Mind Control Software to the Independent Games Festival

Created by the RPM Collective, Equalizr is a 2-D shooter game that generates gameplay from any piece of music. All of the enemy types, behaviors and formations, weapons, and power-ups are all based on musical attributes and events analyzed at run-time.


Rather than a classical orchestral feel like Bubble Symphony, Equalizer demands a fast-paced techno-trance with a driving beat fit for a sci-fi shooter.


I always enjoy the IGF development process, thank-you to both MCS and RPM collective for involving me!


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As a game audio designer I provide game music, sound effects, voice, and other editing services.


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